THE possibility of holding a special Gilas Pilipinas Draft for the second straight year hinges largely on who will be the players applying.
It will be likely known on Jan. 27, the deadline of application for the Draft, according to PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial.
“As of now, hindi na (extend the Draft application deadline). Hinihintay namin iyong January 27 na deadline kasi magme-meeting kaagad kami with the board baka kinabukasan or after ilang araw para malaman kung paano ang drafting,” Marcial said on Radyo5 92.3 News FM’s Power and Play program hosted by former PBA Commissioner Noli Eala.
“Ang SBP ba, kailangan pa ba nila? Kasi hindi maka-decide ang SBP kung paano kasi hindi pa nila alam kung sino iyong mga magpapa-draft,” he added.
In 2019, five amateur standouts led by Isaac Go (Terrafirma), Rey Suerte (Blackwater), Matt Nieto (NLEX), Allyn Bulanadi (Alaska), and Mike Nieto (Rain or Shine) were selected in the special draft. They have yet to play for the teams that selected them.
The five were members of the national team training pool in the first two windows of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.
Marcial said the PBA and SBP will have their work cut out for them after the Draft deadline.
“So, siguro by January 27, iyon na iyon. Hindi na natin i-extend. After a few days, magme-meeting na kaagad kami para mapag-usapan with the SBP kung may kukunin ba sila sa draft o kung paano,” he said.
“Madami iyong usapan. Paano iyong gagawin sa draft? Ano ang mangyayari? Ilan ba ang kailangan niyo? Madaming pag-uusapan doon. May special draft ba for Gilas? So, kailangan by January 27, iyon na iyon.”
Among those expected to join next year’s pool are members of the Gilas squad in the Bahrain bubble that include La Salle center Justine Baltazar, reigning NCAA MVP Calvin Oftana of San Beda University, University of the Philippines’ Javi Gomez de Liaño, and Ateneo’s Will Navarro. All have one more year left in their collegiate careers but have yet to decide whether to turn pro or stay.
Blue Eagle guard Dwight Ramos is set to play his rookie season in the 83rd UAAP basketball tournament, while the Fighting Maroons’ duo of Kobe Paras and Juan Gomez de Liaño are still eligible to play for two years.